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Eastern Conference Championship

Dallas, Rapids keep it clean in Colorado

The prolific FC Dallas strike force of Carlos Ruiz and Eddie Johnson was held in check by the always steadfast Colorado Rapids defense as the two teams battled to a goalless draw Saturday night at Invesco Field at Mile High.

FC Dallas owned much of the possession in the first half using the same forward trio of Johnson and Ronnie O'Brien on the flanks to feed Guatemalan international Ruiz.

The visitors should have been a goal to the good in the first minute on the first corner of the game but Johnson's first-time shot after a Ruiz service was denied by the crossbar.

Johnson and O'Brien were constantly switching flanks, but could not get a quality ball into Ruiz who was doubleteamed in the center by the Rapids central defense pair of Nat Borchers and Guy Melamed. Ruiz had his back to the goal more than going at defenders one-on-one.

The Rapids had more opportunities in the first half, but could not take anything from them. The Rapids outshot FC Dallas 3-2 with two of the shots making it on target. FC Dallas center back Clarence Goodson and Greg Vanney kept striker Wolde Harris in check while Mark Chung was playing behind Harris and could not get a good service into him, as the ball was lost in midfield for much of the match.

The best chance of the half for the Rapids came in the 39th minute, as a through ball from Luchi Gonzalez found a streaking Wolde Harris streaking down the left side of the field. Dallas goalkeeper Scott Garlick was well positioned however, and was able to parry the hard shot.

The second half saw the Rapids change their tactics by bringing on fresh players. Eric Denton stepped in for Nkong as did Leo Cullen for Kyle Beckerman. The changes worked immediately as the Rapids took control of the ball and produced fine shots forcing Scott Garlick to save his defense on multiple occasions.

Colorado's Luchi Gonzalez weaved his way down the right flank for much of the match and in the 56th minutes found Chung with a fine cross. Chung got his head to it, but Garlick made a fine save diving to his left. Then in the 74th minute Chung was able to flick a header to Harris's foot but the Jamaican was denied by the foot of Garlick.

The match nearly saw a dramatic conclusion in the 89th minute for FC Dallas as a David Wagenfuhr cross went over the outstretched arms of Cannon and fell to a diving Ruiz. His shot unluckily went off the left post before spinning back across the goal and out for a goal kick.

In the end, two teams that showed they could score goals settled for none. With the new additions for FC Dallas that might not be a surprise, but it could be a new beginning for Fernando Clavijo's Rapids. The tie is the Rapids' first point of the season, while FC Dallas continues their undefeated streak after their win against Chicago last week.

FC Dallas hit the road again next Saturday to face Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center (10 p.m. ET, HDNet). Colorado also takes to the road, as the Rapids face Real Salt Lake in the expansion club's home opener (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

MLSnet.com man of the match: Joe Cannon (Colorado Rapids)

Tom Buck and Geoffrey Urland are contributors to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.

FC Dallas (1-0-1) vs. Colorado Rapids (0-1-1)

April 9, 2005 -- Invesco Field at Mile High

Scoring Summary: NONE

FC Dallas -- Scott Garlick, Philip Salyer, Clarence Goodson, Greg Vanney, David Wagenfuhr, Richard Mulrooney, Oscar Pareja (Ramon Nunez 69), Carey Talley, Ronnie O'Brien, Eddie Johnson, Carlos Ruiz.

Substitutes Not Used: Jeff Cassar, Cornell Glen, Steve Jolley, Bobby Rhine.

TOTAL SHOTS: 14 (Carlos Ruiz 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 3 (3 tied with 1); FOULS: 15 (Ronnie O'Brien 3, Greg Vanney 3); OFFSIDES: 3 (3 tied with 1); CORNER KICKS: 4 (Richard Mulrooney 3); SAVES: 4 (Scott Garlick 4)

Colorado Rapids -- Joe Cannon, Hunter Freeman, Nat Borchers, Guy Melamed, Ritchie Kotschau, Mark Chung, Kyle Beckerman (Leo Cullen 55), Alain Nkong (Eric Denton 46), Chris Henderson, Luchi Gonzalez, Wolde Harris.

Substitutes Not Used: Michael Cardenas, Matt Crawford, Jeff Cunningham, Joshua Elbaum, Byron Foss, Dan Gargan, Amir Lowery.

TOTAL SHOTS: 8 (Mark Chung 2, Wolde Harris 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Wolde Harris 2); FOULS: 10 (Guy Melamed 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Luchi Gonzalez 1); CORNER KICKS: 7 (Mark Chung 5); SAVES: 3 (Joe Cannon 2)

Misconduct Summary:

COL -- Alain Nkong (caution; Reckless Foul) 15

DAL -- Oscar Pareja (caution; Encroachment) 27

DAL -- Carey Talley (caution; Reckless Foul) 64

COL -- Guy Melamed (caution; Pushing, Holding) 83

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Paul Scott; Carey E. Rockwell
4th Official: Scott McCaslin
Attendance: 9,253
Time of Game: 1:53
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-54-degrees

All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial.


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